Trip Report: EVA Airways flight 31 New York JFK to Taipei in Royal Laurel Business Class

(also includes EVA Air 30 Taipei to New York, the return flight. Both are Boeing 777s)


Pros
  • Krug
  • full pajamas
  • espresso (and staff who are willing to make it)
  • Rimowa amenity kits
  • dual jetways for calm boarding
  • access to Lufthansa Senator lounge in New York
  • two large lounges in taipei with full hot buffets, showers, and toto washlets
  • friendly and attentive staff
  • wi-fi
  • as of Nov 2017, you can use Global Entry to enter Taiwan at TPE

Neutral
  • very long flight — over 15 hours

Cons
  • they keep the cabin very warm
  • no gaspers (personal air vents)
  • XL pajamas are still too small
  • lands at 5am in Taipei, first train to the city is at 6:12

 

How I did it

160,000 United Miles (topped off with a Chase Sapphire transfer) per person, round trip. Details are here. While the trip was mostly Japan, we really wanted to spend more time in Taipei so this worked out well. Our flights from Taiwan to and from Japan we just paid for with cash.

 

Intro

While i still get sad every time i think about missing our Hello Kitty jet last year due to an equipment swap, the experience on board their non-kitty 777 was so good we were eager to fly them again. Because they don’t have first class on board, they don’t have any reason to “hold back” on amenities to differentiate First from Business.

This is definitely the best Business Class I’ve ever experienced. The only thing that comes close is Korean Air’s 747-8 upstairs and that’s largely due to the intimate feeling of the small upstairs cabin and their Apex suite seats. EVA's staff are friendly, efficient, and helpful.

Both flights are timed quite well for minimizing jet lag, the New York-bound one especially so – its first meal service ends around 10pm New York time so you can easily to sleep on-board when you’d be sleeping in New York, then have breakfast at 7am just prior to landing in NYC. The Taipei-bound flight leaves at 1:40am. Our anti-jetlag fasting schedule for that flight is here.

 

Boarding and Lounge

Departing JFK, you use Lufthansa's Senator Lounge. It's decent. Departing Taipei, you have your choice of two lounges, both are top-notch. Both have full buffets with multiple hot offerings, full bars, showers, TOTO Washlets, fast Wi-fi.

When it's time to board, the jetway uses both doors so you have a lot more privacy and space during the pre-departure time.

in New York, you have access to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge

JFK Lufthansa Senator Lounge

JFK Lufthansa Senator Lounge

JFK Lufthansa Senator Lounge

JFK Lufthansa Senator Lounge

JFK Lufthansa Senator Lounge

JFK Lufthansa Senator Lounge

JFK Lufthansa Senator Lounge

Dual jetway boarding

Flight

The flight was very similar to our Houston – Taipei flight last year – everything was generally perfect from start to finish. I managed to sleep 9 hours, so with the two meal services I actually didn't have much downtime at all despite this being such a long flight.

A couple of things:
  • They do bring out warm bread, so wait for that before trying to eat the cold goose liver terrine (cold terrine is nasty – I'm saying that loudly while looking at you, Korean Airlines). 
  • Their blanket is so thick and comfortable but they keep the cabin really warm so it's unusable
  • The front lav on the left side has a pull-down bench to help change into your pajamas
  • I'm 185cm and 100kg (6'1, 220 pounds) and the pajama top definitely didn't fit me. The bottoms were fine, though. I knew this would be the case from our previous flight, so I brought my own pajama top in my carry-on. Given how hot it is, you'll want to change into something you can sweat in.
  • Given the timing of the flights, it's probably best to avoid the snack menu (aka "Leisure Delights") and just eat the two scheduled meal services if you want to help avoid jet lag
  • The Taipei airport has both coin lockers and a baggage storage service in the main terminal, so it's easy to hop onto the MRT train into the city for some quick Fuhang soy milk, some Niu Ro Man soup, Din Tai Fung, or a Hujiao Bing and back to the airport to continue on to other destinations.

Reverse herringbone seating

Thick, heavy pillow and headphones
Seat controls
Rimowa amenity kit and pre-departure champagne

Business Class bathrooms have fresh orchids
...and lemongrass-scented products plus a stash of extra toothbrushes and towelettes.

 

Meal Service

Service starts with an amuse bouche (ex-JFK)
Service starts with an amuse bouche (ex-Taipei)





Followed by a cold plate (ex-JFK)
Followed by a cold plate (ex-Taipei)
Beet soup (ex-Taipei). I love borscht and I hated this soup. Bland.

Chinese Main dish (ex-JFK) Sesame chicken
Chinese main dish (ex-Taipei) Kung Pao chicken

Fruit and chocolate almond truffle cake (ex-JFK)
Fruit and cheese cart (ex-Taipei)
Fruit and cheese cart (ex-Taipei)
Chinese Breakfast: Congee with all the trimmings (ex-Taipei)

Royal Laurel Breakfast (ex-JFK) Shao Bing with beef and egg
Breakfast fruit (both flights)

After the meal service, the cabin is dimmed with this starry night look...

 

Menus

Menu (click to enlarge)

Food, ex-JFK
Food, ex-JFK
Food, ex-Taipei

Food, ex-Taipei

rest are beverages






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